Over the years, I have been asked to design knitwear by several notable yarn companies. This sometimes starts with the yarn they wish to be used, as in the case with Rooster Yarns and their Delightful Lace yarn, and with Erika Knight and her Studio Linen yarn.
I swatch with the yarn to get a feel for the type of stitch and general type of garment. Then I sketch ideas for the client to choose.
On other occasions it can start with a moodboard for the season and perhaps a choice of yarns, as with Willow & Lark and Yarn Stories.
I really prefer to knit the sample and write the first pattern myself. This allows me to perfect the garment, constantly checking sizing and details.
Alternatively, some companies prefer a specification drawing after choosing the design sketch, and they will have the sample knitted and pattern written.
This is slightly different from commissions (see separate page), where a designer has an idea which they wish me to convert into a knitted sample.
I was particularly pleased with the designs for Rooster, layering lightweight garments in different colours, and using openwork stitches and motifs to enhance the colour contrasts.
Between designing collections of garments in the 1990s (see Collections) and opening my shop North Wing (more info here) I also designed knitted textiles – swatches – both by hand and by machine, which were sold through an agent to manufacturers around the world. A few examples are shown bottom right.
After working as freelance designer for several years, I decided to combine that with a return to education and applied to do an MA in the History of Design at the Royal College of Art, London. More about that here.